University of Primorska Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies

Suicidology and Mental Health


General information

Name of the programme: Suicidology and Mental Health
Type of programme: Doctoral, 3rd Bologna cycle
Degree awarded: “doktor znanosti / doktorica znanosti”
Language: Slovene, English
Location: Koper
Duration: 3 years (6 semesters)
ECTS-credits: 180
Mode of study: part-time

Programme coordinatortop

Assoc. Prof. Vita Poštuvan, PhD

For information regarding application, enrolment and other administrative procedures please contact Student Services.

About the programmetop

Suicidology and Mental Health is a specialized study programme that will prepare students for independent international competitive scientific research work in the fields of suicidology and mental health. It is the first doctoral study program in this field in Slovenia, which is an important achievement given the issue of suicidal behavior and the need to develop high-quality research in this field. The advantage of the program is a wide range of elective courses covering specialized research areas that students can choose according to the research areas in which they are professionally engaged. In this way, doctoral students will acquire competencies for the transfer of theoretical knowledge from specialized fields into practice and for connecting the knowledge with other scientific disciplines.

Educational and professional goalstop

  • to qualify students for independent internationally competitive scientific research work in the fields of suicidology and mental health whilst developing student’s ability to use theoretical knowledge in a practical setting and in collaboration with experts of other fields;
  • to provide students with acquiring new knowledge with researching the fields of suicidology and mental health;
  • to provide students with developing skills for identification and research of issues that are indirectly connected with the professional interests of the individual or the society as a whole;
  • to provide students with developing innovativeness, creativity and criticism with solving theoretical and practical problems of their professional practice;
  • to provide students with deeper understanding of theoretical and methodological concepts and training for individual development of new knowledge;
  • to provide students with the ability to solve even the most inquiring problems with testing already confirmed practices, to improve said practices and to discover new solutions to problems at hand;
  • to qualify students for leading more complex scientific research projects in the fields of suicidology and mental health;
  • to qualify students for abiding professional ethics.

Admission requirementstop

Admission to the 1st year shall be granted to applicants having: 

  • a Master's degree (second cycle); or
  • a degree from a study programme regulated by EU directives or any other fast-track master’s programme equivalent to 300 ECTS creditss; or
  • a degree from an undergraduate university study program (study programs adopted before 11 June 2004); or
  • a degree from a Master’s study program (study programs adopted before 11 June 2004). This candidate will be recognized study obligations in the amount of 60 ECTS credits.

The Faculty highly recommends prior education in the areas of psychology, biopsychology, medicine, biology, statistics, social work, social sciences and humanities.

In case of ENROLMENT RESTRICTIONS in the 1st year, candidates will be chosen on the basis of:

  • average grade of exams in previous study cycle - 60 %,
  • grade of the final work at the previous cycle of study - 20 %,
  • number of points collected on the entrance exam - 20 %.

In the entrance exam the candidate's presentation of the previous research work, his previous achievements in the scientific and professional field (published scientific and professional articles, awards, prizes and other) and motivation letter will be evaluated. The scoring method is defined by the UP FAMNIT commission.

Admission may also be gained by an applicant having completed a comparable study abroad. Prior to enrolment the applicant must apply for the recognition of completed education.

Continuation of studies according to the transfer criteriatop

Transfers between study programmes are possible on the basis of the Higher Education Act, Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes and in accordance with other regulations of this field.

The transition between study programmes is the enrolment in the higher year of the study programme, in case of leaving the education at the initial study programme and continuing the study process at another study program of the same degree. The transition takes into account the comparability of the study programmes and the completed study obligations of the candidate in the initial study program.

Access to year 2 or year 3 of the doctoral study programme Suicidology and Mental Health on the basis of the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes is open to candidates of other third-cycle doctoral degree programme, provided that the following conditions have been met:

  • the candidate fulfils the requirements for admission to the study programme of Suicidology and Mental Health;
  • completion of the first study programme which the candidate is transferring from ensures the acquisition of comparable competencies as those envisaged by the study programme of Suicidology and Mental Health; and
  • other conditions in accordance with the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes have also been met (a comparable course structure, course requirements completed).

Individual applications for transfer shall be considered by the relevant committee of UP FAMNIT. Apart from comparability between both fields of study, the committee shall also consider comparability between the study programmes, in accordance with the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes. The applicant may also be required to complete differential exams as defined by the relevant Faculty committee.

Enrolment on the basis of the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes is also open to candidates of a related study programme abroad who have been, in the process of recognition of their studies abroad, legally granted the right to continue their educational training in the study programme of Suicidology and Mental Health.

In the case of limited enrolment, applicants shall be selected on the basis of the average grade of all completed study obligations obtained during the study programme they are transferring from.

Course structuretop

The main components of the study programme are the following:

  • compulsory courses,
  • elective courses,
  • seminar,
  • individual research work,
  • doctoral dissertation.

The content and structure of the study programme are presented below.

Short descriptions of compulsory and elective courses are available HERE.

Table 1: Structure of the study programme 
Year of study  Study obligation  ECTS-credits (ECTS)
ECTS ECTS/Year of study
1. Compulsory course 42 60
Individual research work 12
Seminar 6
2. Compulsory course 6 60
Individual research work 15
Seminar 15
Internal elective course 24
3. Individual research work (preparation and defense of doctoral disertation) 45 60
Seminar 15
Table 2: Compulsory courses of the 1st year of study
No. Course ECTS Form of contact hour
L SE T Total
1. Advanced Research Methodology 1 6 30 - 30 60
2. Advanced Research Methodology 2 6 30 - 30 60
3. Ethics in Research 6 30 30 - 60
4. Mental Health 12 45 45 - 90
5. Suicidology 12 45 45 - 90
L = lecture, SE = seminar, T = tutorial

ECTS = ECTS-credits

Table 3: Compulsory courses of the 2nd year of study
No. Course ECTS Form of contact hour
L SE T Total
1. Scientific Writing and Presentation 6 30 15 30 75

Table 4: Elective courses

No. Course ECTS Form of contact hour
L SE T Total
1. Cultural Aspect of Suicide / Mental Health 12 45 45 - 90
2. Bereavement and Postvention 12 45 45 - 90
3. Suicidology and Media 12 45 45 - 90
4. Genetics and Neurobiology in Suicidology / Mental Health 12 45 45 - 90
5. Developmental Perspective on Mental Health and Suicidal Behaviour 12 45 45 - 90
6. Public Health Aspects of Suicidal Behaviour / Mental Health 12 45 45 - 90
7. Mental Health / Suicidal Behaviour and Gender 12 45 45 - 90
8. Therapeutic Approaches and Treatment – Selected Topics 12 45 45 - 90
9. Human – Computer Interaction and Mental Health 12 45 45 - 90
10. Mental Health and New Technologies 12 45 45 - 90
11. Humanistic Perspectives on Mental Health and Suicidal Behaviour 12 45 45 - 90
12. Mental Disorders – Selected Topics 12 45 45 - 90

Individual research work

Individual research work represents scientific research work of a student on his doctoral topic, which the student performs under the guidance and in cooperation with his mentor.

Doctoral dissertation (PhD Thesis)

The doctoral dissertation represents a new substantial contribution to the global knowledge in the field of suicidology and mentalh health.

The procedure for preparing a doctoral dissertation is regulated by the Rules on the preparation and defence of the doctoral dissertation at the University of Primorska.

Advancement requirements and completion of studiestop

Advancement requirements

A student can advance to a higher year if he or she collects 42 ECTS of the current year and completes all the obligations of the previous year. Within the 42 ECTS of the 1st year the student must pass two compulsory courses Mental Health and Suicidology and also Individual Reseach Work 1.

In special cases, student’s personal situation (e.g. motherhood, prolonged illness, exceptional family and social circumstances, recognized status of a person with special needs, active participation in top professional, cultural and sports events, active participation in university bodies), the student may be granted promotion to a higher year with a lower number of credits (but not less than 30 ECTS).

The student may repeat a year once during his / her studies if he / she collects at least 21 ECTS of the enrolled year.

The student who shows above-average study results may be allowed to progress faster. The decision is made by the UP FAMNIT Senate on the basis of the candidate's request and the reasoned opinion of the competent UP FAMNIT commission. The decision determines the method of faster progress.

By advancing and repeating, the student retains the status of a student and thus the rights and benefits provided by law. In accordance with the law, a student can apply for an extension of student status, but for a maximum of one year.

Completion of studies

To complete their studies, students must successfully complete all of the programme-specific study obligations and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation about fields in suicidology or mental health.

Prior to receiving the grade of the Senate, the candidate must have published (or accepted for publication) two scientific articles from the field of the dissertation in an international scientific literature, cited in the SCI or SSCI database; where at least one of the published articles is an original scientific article, and in both articles the student must be cited as the first author.

Graduate competenciestop

General competencies

  • Ability to autonomously search and acquire professional knowledge and to furthermore integrate new discoveries within the existing knowledge.
  • Autonomy in scientific research work.
  • Capacity for critical reasoning and understanding of current events in the fields of suicidology and mental health.
  • Ability of connecting, transferring and placing contributions of suicidology and mental health into a broader social context.
  • Capability of collaborating, leading and directing not only individual, but also team work.
  • Ability for understanding, acknowledging and following ethical work practices in scientific research, while abiding the principles of tolerance and multiculturalism.

Subject-specific competencies

  • Ability to use a wide pallet of highly qualitive research methods for a better understanding of suicidology and mental health.
  • Development of multidisciplinary and multilevel research practices and flexible implementation of discoveries in different cultural contexts.
  • Applying theoretical knowledge into practice by creating and providing effective preventive, interventive and postventive activities.
  • Capability to embrace and expand the latest discoveries of suicidology and mental health in international suicidological, psychological and psychiatrical circles.
  • Sovereign ability to impart discoveries and knowledge of suicidology and mental health to a wider audience.
  • Sovereign ability to impart discoveries and knowledge of suicidology and mental health to the media.
  • Qualification to implement and evaluate preventive strategies of suicidology and mental health on a national scale and to collaborate with preparation of national suicide prevention programmes.
  • Development of reflective and critical views on research process and discoveries.
  • Following ethical guidelines and holding a highly responsible posture while solving concrete sensitive situations in the context of suicidology and mental health.

Graduate employment opportunitiestop

Doctoral students can pursue a research career in the academic sector, public or private research institutions, as well as in various fields where there is a need for applied knowledge in the fields of mental health and suicide prevention. A wide range of both theoretical and practical knowledge provides students with a variety of employment opportunities in many fields, where the need to invest in prevention, intervention or research programs on mental health and suicidology is recognized as an important step towards improving the mental health of employees, specific vulnerable groups or the general population. The possibility of participating in applied projects during studying in this PhD programme gives students an important advantage for better integration into the work environment.

Tuition feetop

  • The TUITION FEE for each year of study is determined in the Price list UP FAMNIT.
  • The CO-FUNDING OF DOCTORAL STUDIES will be open to all students who meet the requirements from the Decree on co-Financing of doctoral studies and Criteria for the selection of candidates for co-funding tuition fees in doctoral studies at the University of Primorska. More information is available here.